Have you ever wondered why the price at your favourite store always seems to end in a $–.99? Or $–.97?
No, not really? You haven’t? At least if you’re me, you haven’t. But then I read about it in a recent(ish) Time article and started wondering.
The truth is that most retailers use a pricing system that demarcates their regularly priced items from their sale and clearance items. And it’s not always the items clearly identified under the convenient little “Sale!” sign. There is definitely method to big box store madness when it comes to pricing their goods and services.
The good news is you don’t need to speak twelve languages. Or have advanced degrees in math, religious studies, and art history from prestigious universities. Or be an International Man of Symbology Mystery to figure it out.
You just need to be extremely details-oriented and keenly interested in price tagging systems practiced by retailers across the country. Or, if you’re not – you can just read along and reap the benefits from the fallen, and unsung, heroes that have blazed the price tag decoding trail ahead of us.
Namely, Lifehacker and The Consumerist. These are just two of many but they both have a number of the top companies that most of us are probably going to end up opening our wallet at over the next week.
What do I mean by decoding price tags?
As it turns out, stores have systems of using the last digits in the price to communicate whether it’s regularly priced, on sale, or even on clearance.
Lifehacker gives us a peek at these prices:
|Name||Regular Price||Sale/Clearance Price|
|BJ’s||Ends in .99||Ends in .00 or .90|
|Costco||Ends in .99||Ends in .97 or .88 or .00|
|Gap/Old Navy||Varies||Ends in .*7|
|Home Depot||Varies||Ends in .*6 or green tag|
|Sears||Ends in .99||Ends in .88 or .97|
|Staples||Ends in A, I, or P||Ends in C or F|
|Target||Ends in .*9||Ends in .*4, .*6, or .*8|
|Walmart||Varies||Ends in .44 (unconfirmed)|
While you might not be interested in toting around these fun facts when deciding on your favourite Gap fashion, there is a good rule of thumb that can help you in the moment. If the price ends in anything beyond .99, you’re probably paying below full price for it.
You are now a Price Tag Ninja, go forth and save! Happy shopping, my friends!